KEEPING YOUR STUFF SPOTLESS
It's a good schedule, as, usually, it lets me restore pieces of briar all day Sundays. And if you think about it, a place where some misguided people think I'm next to god, while others entrust their beloved companions into my tender hands -- and I can smoke while there -- is in many ways a peach.
[Please note that by "beloved companions", briar pipes for use with pipe tobacco are meant. Not dogs, not wives, not house-arrest tracking devices.]
Some people abuse the living heck out of their pipes.
Some pipes just need a little clean-up.
Few are irredeemable.
NO GREEN SLIME!
Remarkably, it is never a woman who fouls up a pipe. I guess women just take better care of things. Women pipe smokers would undoubtedly respect how I treat my pipes; clean black stems, carbon layer kept reasonably thin (no thicker than it should be), draft free of tarry build-up, and the rims fairly spotless and unbanged. A clean pipe performs better. Women instinctively understand about keeping your tools clean.
Many men seldom take so much pride in their equipment.
A pipe is something you should grasp fondly, not at arms length. Ideally it will smell good, and be something you stick in your mouth with pleasure.
Filling a bowl properly is also an art at which women are, often, better. The tobacco should be packed gently, not pounded in. The flame should be even and controlled, not casual and slapdash. Your attention should be focused. A gentle touch is better than mere vigour.
One would think that this was obvious.
The person who taught me more about pipes and tobacco than anyone else was a small brilliant Chinese woman. She took great pride in doing everything well, and she had an excellent eye.
Before I met her, my pipes stank.
Hers were always clean.
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